Admit it, we all want to look young and beautiful. Fight for your foxy by taking care of your skin!
Your skin is your body’s largest organ. It makes sense, then, that what’s healthy for your whole body is also great for your skin. As far as food choices, it doesn’t get much better than fresh, organic vegetables. You’ll especially want to look for brightly colored red-orange and green vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, peppers, and dark, leafy greens.
Orange and red-colored vegetables are full of beta-carotene. Our bodies convert beta-carotene into vitamin A, which acts as an antioxidant, thereby preventing cell damage and premature aging.
Spinach and other dark, leafy greens also provide tons of vitamin A, which helps your skin produce fresher new cells and get rid of the old ones, reducing dryness and keeping your face looking bright and young.
Mangoes are also a great source of vitamin A and taste amazing in smoothies or dessert recipes. Truthfully, it’s best to get vitamin A from your food and not from supplements, as extremely high levels of vitamin A can cause health problems. The primary risks of too much vitamin A (either acute or chronic excess) are birth defects, liver abnormalities, central nervous system disorders, and lower bone mineral density that might increase osteoporosis risk.
Oatmeal is nature’s balm for dry, itchy, irritated skin—just ask the ancient Romans and Egyptians! Colloidal oatmeal, which is made by pulverizing and boiling oats, is an ingredient you’ll often see in skin care products. It fights itch, helps to retain moisture, and contributes to the barrier your skin maintains to protect you from harsh, outside elements.
In essence, a nutrient-dense, whole-food vegan diet offers a wide range of whole-body advantages, most notably great-looking skin. Whole foods are natural, unprocessed foods with high nutrient value—an example would be organic, sprouted whole-grain buckwheat instead of white bread. Whole-grain buckwheat is a great source of the antioxidant rutin, which helps to combat inflammation-related skin damage. Wheat germ provides the B vitamin biotin, which assists cells in processing fats. If you don’t have enough biotin in your body, your skin can become dry and scaly.
In general, whole grains instead of processed carbohydrates can improve your complexion. Processed or highly refined flours can cause insulin spikes, which in turn can promote acne. Replacing your refined-flour cereal with buckwheat cereal is a great acne-reducing move. Incidentally, this would also help reduce your risk of developing adult-onset diabetes.
Not feeling the crunchy texture and nutty taste of buckwheat? It’s all good, baby. Avocados and mushrooms can provide many of the same nutritive benefits. Remember: a healthy body usually means healthy skin. So just make time to feed your body good, healthy, unprocessed, whole plant foods, get your daily exercise, and keep your stress levels low—and your skin will see some seriously beautiful benefits.
What Else Can You Do?
The ideal way to get the nutrients you need for a lifelong radiant complexion is eating a healthy, balanced, plant-based diet. But it can also be a good idea to take a whole-food-derived daily multivitamin with lots of organically derived minerals and antioxidants to boost your overall nutrient intake if you’re not consistently eating a balanced diet. Taking high-quality vitamins and supplements is important if you spend a lot of time outdoors in an urban environment or are exposed to high levels of air pollution and secondhand smoke.
Your skin also needs sleep, regular exercise, hydration, and protection. On days of high-intensity sun exposure, apply a natural, mineral-rich sunblock with an SPF of at least 30. The label should say “broad-spectrum,” meaning that it protects against the sun’s UVA and UVB rays. If you’re going to be outdoors during peak hours of intense sun, limit your exposure time, especially between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on hot days. A good 15 minutes of direct exposure on your skin should be adequate to maintain healthy vitamin D levels. The important thing is finding the balance of just the right amount of sun exposure to be healthy and not increase your risk of skin cancer. If you have a genetic history of skin cancer in your family, it may be a better idea to obtain higher levels of vitamin D from your food sources and keep sun exposure to a minimum. Use your own best judgment and make smart choices with this one.
From a topical perspective on skin care, shea butter is usually the first recommendation to anyone looking for smoother skin. This soft substance from sub-Saharan Africa has been used for generations to treat ailments from stretch marks to arthritis to leprosy. Shea butter is composed mainly of triglycerides, such as palmitic, stearic, oleic, and linoleic fatty acids. These make it a fantastic emollient, and, combined with its thick texture and creaminess, it’s a moisturizer that really sticks. But it’s the other aspect of shea butter that researchers are more interested in: the unsaponifiables—the parts of oils and fats that don’t form soaps. Shea butter is full to the brim with them, and they have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties. And, to make it even better, cinnamic acids in the unsaponifiables actually absorb UV radiation.
Gettin’ your sweat on is a great way to detoxify your skin and open your pores. I recommend using a far-infrared sauna to penetrate deep into the layers of your epidermis and to release the maximum amount of toxins through your skin. Here’s a personal story to highlight the effectiveness of far-infrared sauna therapy for skin detox: my cousin Steve spent the better part of a year in China working on a project. While in Shanghai, he was exposed to some of the most horrific, toxic air pollution in the world. The air quality there is so bad that many people wear masks on the street during their commutes to and from work or even while jogging! When he finally returned to the U.S. after the project wrapped, he started a hardcore detox protocol that integrated far-infrared sauna therapy. He told me that once the temperature got above 150 degrees Fahrenheit, he noticed that black soot started to ooze out of his pores. Can you imagine this happening to you? Needless to say, he was totally freaked out but very relieved to be getting those potentially damaging toxins out of his body.
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Claims on this site have not been evaluated by the FDA. Information on this site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. We encourage you to do your own research.. Seek the advice of a medical professional before making any changes to your lifestyle or diet.
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